S Janaki refuses Padma Bhushan: ‘South artistes ignored’
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Veteran playback singer S Janaki Saturday turned down the Padma Bhushan conferred on her, saying she was disappointed that many of her seniors and peers from the south who deserved the honour were ignored over the years.
She said she was saddened to see north Indians get prominence in the list of Padma award winners. "I refuse to accept the award in protest against the neglect towards south Indian artistes. south India is as great as north India," the winner of four National Awards for best singer said in Palakkad in Kerala, where she was attending a private function.
Janaki said she has been in the music industry for the last five decades and was honoured with the Padma award only at the age of 75.
"This belated award could not be seen as recognition. South Indian artistes are facing neglect. No award is greater than the recognition and affection of my admirers,'' she said.
Janaki's son V Murali Krishna told The Sunday Express that their consent was not taken before she was chosen for the award, offers of which she had rejected several years ago.
"About 15 days ago, an Income Tax official from Chennai contacted me asking for her PAN and other details to check her 'credentials'. I then told him we are not interested but he was only doing what had been asked of him. We don't know who recommended her name, who the jury members were or how they evaluated her," he said.
Murali Krishna said he came to know about the award only when he received the call Friday evening. He immediately contacted his mother, who had received a similar call.
"Had the government contacted us prior to taking the decision, we would have rejected in a dignified and confidential manner and nobody would have come to know about this."